Middle School Teacher Daniel Norment Was Arrested In May.
BY: EDUCATION DESK | BocaNewsNow.com
PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The Palm Beach County School Board is facing a lawsuit from the family of a student who says she was “groomed” for years by teacher Daniel Norment, and later sexually assaulted in a classroom closet. Norment was arrested in May by School Board police, jailed, and later released on $100,000 bond.
According to the lawsuit, which BocaNewsNow.com is publishing in its entirety, below, the student was enrolled at Independence Middle School in Jupiter at the time of the alleged assault. Norment was a teacher.
The following is from the complaint just filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court:
“By the time Jane Doe was in 10th or 11th grade, Norment was hugging her, rubbing her back and shoulders, picking her up and spinning her around as he kissed her, passionately rubbing her breast and buttocks, and then kissing her on the lips and telling her that he was “falling in love” with her.
On or around Sep. 11, 2019, Norment’s inappropriate conduct reached its zenith. On that occasion, Norment took Jane Doe’s hand and led her into a closet in his classroom that had a small table and chairs. Upon entering the closet, Norment removed Jane Doe’s clothes and sexually assaulted her. It is believed that the teacher who shared a wall with the closet heard something suspicious.
That teacher walked out of the classroom at the same time Jane Doe and Norment exited Norment’s classroom. The teacher commented that tie was loose and Norment responded something to the effect of, “I’m trying to look sexy, can’t you tell.”
Within a week after she was sexually assaulted by Norment on School Board property, Jane Doe was asked to visit one of the Assistant Principal’s offices at her high school Multiple school administrators were present at the meeting, which naturally made Jane Doe, as a girl who had just turned sixteen, frightened. At the meeting, the Assistant Principal asked Jane Doe about Norment’s actions toward her.
As a young girl, Jane Doe- -like most other young girls her age- -did not feel comfortable talking about being sexually assaulted by Norment in a room full of adults staring at her. So, naturally, she disclaimed that the event happened. The meeting concluded with the administrators instructing her not to volunteer for Norment anymore.
This meeting, by its very design, was extremely unlikely to yield truthful information from a sexual abuse survivor.
As such, the School Board’s way of going about the meeting evidenced a continuing deliberate indifference to Norment’s predatory conduct because it was done in a group setting, without the presence of the Guidance Counselor or other properly trained individual to address sensitive issues. It was akin to asking a question in a way that checked a box for having asked the question but was designed such that it would not yield information the School Board did not want to hear.
The very fact that the Assistant Principal requested the meeting -and then instructed Jane Doe to have no further contact with Norment even after she denied the sexual allegations- shows that the School Board knew of the improper relationship Norment had formed and cultivated with Jane Doe on School Board property over multiple years.
Additionally, the fact that the School Board’s Assistant Principal asked Jane Doe for a meeting to discuss her relationship with Norment evidences the fact that the School Board was aware of the fact that such alone time between Norment and young girls in his classroom was a red flag because it created a ready-environment for predatory conduct.“
The suit seeks damages in excess of the statutory circuit court minimum of $30,000 from the School District of Palm Beach County. The criminal proceedings against Norment continue. He is charged with “sexual offense — authority figure soliciting and/or engaging in sexual conduct with a student,” and “sexual assault by a person 24 years of age or older (with a victim) 16 or 17 years of age.”
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